The Associate is boilerplate Tootsie, lifting the entire plot structure from Dorothy's television world and dropping it on Wall Street, where Whoopi Goldberg finds herself forced to impersonate a man (named Cutty after Cutty Sark scotch) in order to be taken seriously.
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The one-joke premise is this: seven friends in New York basically live their lives without ever really meeting. Instead, they talk on the phone. Dates are set, parties are planned, sex is had, even children are born -- but no one is there, in the physical sense.
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Scheduled to open last year, Against the Ropes is inspired by the life of boxing promoter Jackie Kallen (Meg Ryan). When we first meet Kallen, her career is going nowhere. She's stuck working for a Cleveland arena executive, who treats her like a nicer version of Kevin Spacey in Swimming with Sharks.
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A Hollywood-slick military mystery-thriller packed with over-scripted, less than cogent twists, "Basic" is so full of cheap red herrings that watching it feels like gorging on a Long John Silver's all-you-can-eat buffet.
John Travolta stars as Tom Hardy, a cocky ex-Army Ranger turned possibly crooked DEA agent who is tapped by his former commander (Tim Daly) to interrogate survivors of a live-fire Special Forces training mission which went so badly awry that none of the survivors will talk about it with on-post investigators.
Of the nine soldiers that went into the Panama jungle during a hurricane under the command of hated, mercilessly hard-driving, order-barking Sgt. Nathan West (a perfectly cast Samuel L. Jackson), it seems only two came back alive. Everyone else, including the sergeant, was killed in either a friendly-fire accident or a heated showdown over command structure, West's psychological abuse and a possible drug-use cover-up.
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